Battle of Britain
The Battle of Britain was the Nazi’s
desperate attempt throughout 1940 to bomb the English into submission in
preparation for an eventual landing on British soil.
Hitler always had a rather poor
understanding of the British psyche and the wave of strategic and terror
bombings did little to achieve their desired effect. Rather than cowing
the English populace into submission it galvanised them into resistance,
civilian deaths were relatively minimal, few targets of military
importance were destroyed and Luftwaffe losses were always much higher
than that of their R.A.F. counterparts, thanks not only to British air
superiority overall but to their smaller faster craft and effective use
of radar, which to their detriment the Nazis were never to employ on
anything approaching such a grand scale. Operation Sea Lion, the plans
for a German sea invasion, were put on hold indefinitely following the
Battle and never resumed.
The event is undoubtedly the most pivotal
in modern British history; had the Nazi’s maintained anything
approaching air superiority and been able to tackle the requisite
logistical difficulties, the English would have been in for one hell of
a struggle. Celebrating the heroes who managed to stave off an invasion
of the British Isles are actor Ewan McGregor (the Star Wars
prequels, Trainspotting) and his brother Colin, a 20-year veteran
of the R.A.F. Together the pair meet the few remaining veterans who
took part in the battle, fly historic planes, explore the tactics and
technology used throughout and come to a thorough understanding of the
importance of the Battle and its present-day legacy.
The series is highly enjoyable, deeply
informative, occasionally moving and an absolute must for WWII buffs.
The brothers McGregor arguably don’t make the best presenters; after all
this is the sort of thing better left to specialists, and Ewan in
particular elicits more whoops of glee and wide-eyed expressions of the
‘Really? Wow!’ ilk than would seem appropriate, but all in all
the pair clearly have a deep fascination with their subject matter, and
the end result is a touching and thorough evocation of the key moments
when ‘the few’ of the R.A.F. faced the might of the Nazi Luftwaffe.